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Gene Bias: Onomastics of Shared Surnames among Men Reveals Genetic links

What’s in a Surname? There’s a lot you can decipher from surnames, especially from those men who share similar surnames. Gender Bias, if you ask me! Or blame it on the Y chromosome that renders maleness // to a Man; researchers, have now unearthed a mysterious link, that traces the branches of a family tree to common Surnames. DNA of 150 pairs of men with shared British surnames was compared to reveal that at least 25% of the pairs had a genetic link.

The Y chromosome provides this link, from the father to the son, very much like the perpetuation of surnames. In principle, this connection appears pretty uncomplicated, linking a name and a Y chromosome, under the umbrella of a family tree. Earlier research seemed to suggest some sort of link for particular names, though this cannot be said for all, due to exceptional cases cropping up - adoption, name changes, non paternities etc, that weakens the link.

Turi King, Stéphane Ballereau, and Mark Jobling from the University of Leicester and Kevin Schürer from the University of Essex, undertook this new study by a general analysis of names and selection of random pairs. It was observed that pairs sharing common surnames are more likely to share Y chromosomes, than pairs with different names. It was also seen that the link was stronger with rare surnames as compared to common ones, indicating common ancestors in the family tree.

This research opens pathways for genealogists, keen on studying facets of the family tree, and an impetus to the developments in forsenic science.

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